I participated to the Future of Work seminar which was held this month at Hanken International Business School in Helsinki. It is time for new solutions says Buurtzorg`s establisher Jos de Blok. Keeping old working models and trying to improve efficiency has come to the end.
Why Buurtzorg? Jos de Blok had a long history working as a district nurse and before that he studied few years economics. He noticed with few co-workers that they were too concentrated to different products instead of patients.
Patient satisfaction went down. Many products, divided to activities, needed specialists. There where too many caregivers treating same patient. The most important thing, patient`s and nurse`s relationship could not be built. Patients and nurses got frustrated. At the same time costs went up as more specialists were needed, also schedule planners and different coordinators were needed to keep processes efficient. The middle management was growing because of the complexity. Professional nurses frustrated even more as they could not plan they own work anymore.
Nurses wanted to do their job as good as possible, but the system was actually against that will. The purpose must have been good in those health care companies, but still things went worse. Nurse job was not inspiring as you could not give your own input by influencing how the job should be done. I think that applies for other industries also. Management is lacking trust and thinking control is the answer to lead people. But control is not driving intrinsic motivation that leads to passion and totally different work spirit and productiveness.
Buurtzorg started 2007 with one team and has grown since that to 800 independed self-directed teams without managers. All employees are trusted and respected professionals. One team consists of max 12 nurses. Teams organize and are responsible for the entire process. Most of the nurses are generalists, so it is easy for the teams to plan themselves nursing/medical and social care. There are no products client needs to buy separately. The care is planned with the client. Nurses are concentrating to the client in a holistic way meaning to the patient`s illness and empathy needs and how to support her/him and help possible family members/volunteers to understand patient situation and how they can help. Patient needs to feel secure, so trust is important.